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WATCH: Israeli short film depicts Iran nuclear attack scenario

By Fady Khoury

Ronen Barany, an Israeli filmmaker, directed a short five-minute film called “The Last Day,” depicting, from his point of view, what an Iranian nuclear attack would look and feel like. With lots of convincing visual effects and truly remarkable acting skills provided by volunteers who participated, this short film has an emotional impact on viewers. You can see for yourselves (viewer discretion is advised):

For the fainthearted amongst our readers, the plot goes something like this:

The film, which is presented as a visual United Nations document, occurs on February 23, 2013. It opens with footage of missiles going through the blue sky and in the background a haunting alarm. A frightened couple gets in a hurry into their car and attempts to flee the bombed Jerusalem area, to the woman’s parents’ home. Mushroom clouds of smoke are seen on the horizon and in the background a voice of a radio broadcaster reading news updates. All of a sudden, a bright white flash covers the screen indicating that the Iranians dropped a nuclear bomb in a distant area. The couple notices that there are people in the middle of the road and get out in order to see if they need help. There, a woman is kneeling on the ground holding her son who did not close his eyes when the flash occurred. Now he cannot see clearly. Mushroom cloud footage appears and later a car arrives to the scene with a wounded man who gets taken out and is laid on the ground. While people are yelling, an alarm is going off, a couple of military aircrafts fly over and a nuclear bomb is dropped nearby creating a huge explosion and a fitting shock wave while someone in the back cries, “Where is our military?!!” The couple tries to flee the scene and then the footage gets disturbed, marking the end of “The Last Day.”

In a piece (in Hebrew) he wrote about the film on Channel 2’s news website, Barany explains that:

Several hours passed from the moment this video was uploaded to the web until this huge snowball was created, and it did not take long for the reactions to arrive. Some thought I chose the right-wing’s side, which encourages an attack on Iran, others even argued that this was left-wing propaganda, the goal of which is to scare the public and hurt morale, but the truth is different. I, a father of two children and a grandson of a Holocaust survivor, hear twice a week how world leaders seek to wipe us (Israel) off the map. In a world where fear of nuclear weapons is a common concern, not only Israel’s, I decided that I wanted to convey the sense of this existential fear which we all share. This is the reason for why I am convinced and even glad that to each their own interpretation – from all sides of the political spectrum.

The film received mixed reactions. Some viewers reacted harshly describing it as fear-generating propaganda that ignores Israel’s military capabilities. Others perceived it positively as showing what would happen if the Iranian nuclear project is not nipped in the bud. Either way, one cannot watch this shocking film without flinching.

More speculatively, I wonder when Israel is going to use this film in an international Hasbara campaign.

Fady Khoury is a legal intern at Adalah: The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and not Adalah. 

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  • COMMENTS

    1. William

      Reminds me of living in Gaza,

      BUT GAZA IS TEN TIMES WORSE!

      Reply to Comment
    2. Jazzy

      “More speculatively, I wonder when Israel is going to use this film in an international Hasbara campaign.”
      Its nice that people at Adalah think first about how to use every issue to take petty jabs against Jewish Israelis and think second about things like…oh…their own survival…

      Reply to Comment
    3. Fady K.

      This post does not represent any one’s views but my own. Therefore, your “People at Adalah” generalization is inappropriate.
      Now to your point, my speculation is not that overreaching. Whether you agree with it or not, accusing me (and all who works at adalah apparently) of taking petty jabs against Jewish Israelis is what’s petty here. What does Jewish Israelis have to do with what I’m saying here? If anything, it’s a jab against a fanatic, fear-based government which is in charge of Hasbara campaigns.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Jazzy

      Sorry I don’t buy the idea that Adalah is non-political, or that suggesting its not a coincidence that someone with your political views works there is “inappropriate” – you’ve already made your disclaimer, which I understand is part of the Adalah PR strategy so no point repeating yourself. I suppose the coy suggestion that Jewish Israelis and “Israel” are not synonymous is one of the “one-state for all its citizens” talking points. Good job checking those boxes.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Jazzy – Fady has stated that his opinions are his own and have no connection with Adalah. You say otherwise, but since you have no proof of your counter-claim you are veering quite close to libel. At best, you are wasting space here with your tendentious and repetitive argument.

      Reply to Comment
    6. Fady K.

      Your suggestion that somehow a legal internship at Adalah – which by the way I will be done with in two weeks and therefore will leave the organization – gives me the right to speak on behalf of it is ridiculous.
      There are a lot of people working at Adalah with different stances and views on politics. Some believe in the one-state solution and others in the two-state solution. But all of them are dedicated to promoting human rights of the Arab minority in Israel and the Palestinians in the OPT.
      The fact that you are assuming things about me and Adalah which are not based on facts, tells more about you and your motives than anything else. More importantly, it tells me that the propaganda of the right successfully influenced you and that you followed its leaders blindly.
      What if a Jewish person made the same speculation? Would you voice the same criticism? Accusing me of racism towards Jewish people without knowing me and just because I work at Adalah, about which evidently you know nothing, clearly indicates that
      And, of course Jewish Israelis and *Israeli government* are not necessarily synonymous when it comes to policy formulation. Haven’t you heard Jewish Israelis’ criticism on their government? For some reason, being Arab in your view renders my criticism illegitimate and out of place.
      Is that a safe assumption? or do you find it unsubstantiated?

      Reply to Comment
    7. Paul

      Of course Adalah is political. It’s website clearly states it’s politics: it works to promote and defend the rights of Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel…and Palestinians living in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
      Your post, Jazzy, is also political, although you’re not quite as upfront about your own politics. Your apparent awareness that the state of Israel is inextricably tied to a racist, quasi-fascist ideology that identifies the state with the interests of a particular ‘chosen’ ethnicity over others is commonly acknowledged. But to suggest that there is nothing wrong with such a state of affairs and that people who find it inherently unjust must adhere to some easily demonized caricature of a political position is simply evidence of your own lack an ‘un-biased’ perspective.

      Reply to Comment
    8. Fady K.

      “clearly indicates that between the two of us you’re the one with prejudice about Palestinians.”
      (didn’t paste the entire sentence by mistake_

      Reply to Comment
    9. Dan Goldenblatt

      Adalah is a very serious and hugely important organization that continues to do very important work. It is not against the state of Israel but rather works to promote the rights of Palestinians who have been systematically discriminated against since the establishment of the state of Israel. This is not a concpiracy. It has been admitted to by people as senior as Ehud Olmert. The discrimination of Israeli Palestinians is built into the Israel system. It is something that must change.

      Beside that point, de-legitimizing people or organizations that one does not agree with is propaganda and the type of tactic used by organizations such as Im Tirzu and others and it is a true danger to what is left of the Israeli democracy.

      Reply to Comment
    10. Jazzy

      Lisa: Libel would require that I state facts, not merely an opinion.
      Fady: If you think that opposition to their being a Magen David on the Israeli flag falls under the umbrella of “human rights” advocacy, which is your characterization of Adalah’s work, then I don’t think there’s too much room for an intellectually honest discussion about what “human rights” actually means. To answer your question: yes, if a Jewish person speculated that Jewish Israelis who genuinely fear for their lives b/c of Iran are really cynical liars (“Hasbara campaign”), then yes I would make the same criticism. I don’t accept your post hoc attempt to narrow the definition of “Israel” to mean only the right-wing coalition that’s in power now (see, e.g. “Israel’s military capabilities”). Also, I’m not accusing of racism, just nationalism. I don’t think that being a Palestinian Nationalist means you have to be antisemitic (though if you’re not Palestinian, it probably helps). Overall, I think Adalah is a good thing, and I am familiar with its work, but I find its forays into nationalist advocacy irritating and ultimately counterproductive to achieving peace. I appreciate that your affiliation with Adalah is not very substantial, but there’s really no way for you to disassociate from the footer on this piece; so ultimately you’re dragging the organization’s name into a political question that has very very little to do with human rights for Palestinians, which I think is stupid. That’s all.

      Reply to Comment
    11. Carl

      Jazzy, was that film about a nuclear attack on Adalah or did I watch something else to you?
      .
      For Armageddon fans, I heartily recommend the film Threads (fiction) or the ‘Protect and Survive’ UK public information films. The latter weren’t meant to be fiction, though they advised us we could survive a nuclear attack by taping up the windows and getting under the stairs.

      Reply to Comment
    12. Jazzy

      Carl: Adalah is in Haifa, so yeah it is about an attack on Adalah.

      Reply to Comment
    13. Aaron

      I’m one of your fainthearted readers, so I didn’t watch the video. But I was wondering, if Iran were launch a nuclear (actually, atomic) strike against Israel, would the bomb really be delivered by missile? I figured it would be delivered by boat or something. Just shows how much I keep up with the news, I guess.

      Reply to Comment
    14. Aaron

      I was thinking about the difference between this movie and both Threads (mentioned above) and The Day After, a cheesy made-for-TV movie. While the current movie is seen as rightist propaganda, those movies were leftist, including center-left, propaganda. Assuming that Iran gets the bomb or at least capability, will the more dovish left start campaigning for Israeli-Iranian nuclear disarmament?

      Reply to Comment
    15. Aaron

      Oops, I left out the punch line to my comment above: Will movies like this then be used as left-wing propaganda?

      Reply to Comment
    16. To Jazzy, but others as well – I regard most of these comments above as “metadiscussion”. And I also view the filmmaker of the above being irresponsible, ignoring the practical, political dimension of life.

      The Real Question to All: What should Israel and Israelis DO about the current situation, acknowledging that the nightmare scenario in the video is present in many Israelis’ minds??

      Should we (as many people on the street in Larry Derfner’s recent post said when he asked them about the current Israeli government vis-a-vis Iran) shrug and say, “The current government knows more about this whole situation, so I should just trust whatever they do will the right thing”??

      Or – as I believe – should we ask ourselves – is the current government (as most Israeli governments are) paralyzed by fear, and evaluating the future simply on the past – that Israel has had 6 decades of terrible war and violence, and that we must ASSUME that the next 60 years will be about the same??

      Should we keep Israel’s “enemies” (whether in Iran, Gaza, Lebanon, or anywhere else) at arms length, refusing to talk to them directly, regarding them as “little Hitlers”, who in a minute will pick the path of suicide because the most important thing to them is “wiping Israel off the map”??? Or – should we ask ourselves: is there ANOTHER WAY to respond to our “enemies” – that maybe their actual thinking has a lot more subtlety, and is actually based on the wounds THEY THEMSELVES carry from the same 6 decades of terrible war and violence that all have experienced in the vicinity of Israel??

      Again, Jazzy, I’m not laying blame, not saying Israelis are evil. But I”m saying that the current government is missing the boat – acting like classic victims of Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome, rather than as free, creative, responsible adults. There ARE other ways to relate to Iran than being hypnotized by the nightmare of the video above.

      Reply to Comment
    17. directrob

      The whole movie is rather naive war mongering. Bombing Israel would probably kill not only Israeli but also Lebanese, Jordanians, Egyptians and Palestinians. The strike back will destroy Iran and kill even more.

      Reply to Comment
    18. Carl

      Aaron, did you see Threads? I know it was a UK film (made for TV I think) but don’t know if it had a wider release, or just drifts around an Interweb somewhere these days. I’d love to hear your opinion of it as I re-watched it last year.
      .
      I saw it in the 80′s though I’m not sure if I saw it at it’s ’84 release. Given the bitter splits around the issue with the Thatcher government hoisting nuclear tipped US cruise missiles, as well as buying out Trident nuclear missiles essentially from the US (we got to brand them at least) the film was seen as being a pacifist propoganda film by one half of the country. For the rest of use who lived in ‘first-strike’ targets, namely near major military industrial factories, it was just a piece of realist film making. Though it did go a bit Mad Max in the whole 10 later picture.
      .
      Strangely, people think that the MAD system kept the world safe. I suppose East and West only nearly wiped the world out on a couple of occasions, but the amount of proxy wars going on a the same time made it a way more violent period than the post-cold war area, with the exception of I think 2 or 3 years following the collapse of the USSR as the new states had a lot of arguments over borders.
      .
      Seem to remember Upssala University maintains figures for conflict around the globe which make this point.
      .
      So locals, take it from me – who is someone who lives thousands of miles away – both Israel and Iran are statistically safer from each other (baring misunderstandings which just need you to get a hotline to Tehran and back, and all will be cleared up) if Iran gets viable nuclear weapons. Shame about the proxies mind, I mean neighbours.
      .
      While I think about it, I think we do still have radioactive sheep and cows thanks to Chernobyl, who’s milk is ‘disposed’ of. Presumably in our ‘barrel themed’ low level storage system, located on a field. No, we don’t have a plan for what to do with the tonnes of high level waste yet; not since the fifty years anyhow.

      Reply to Comment
    19. Philos

      Two words for this video: bull sh*t

      Reply to Comment
    20. Passerby

      This is very strange. The writer of this piece is concerned about this film being used for “hasbara.”

      Am I the only person here who has visualized precisely this scenario if a nuke hits Israel, only multiplied by many more victims? All this film does is give a clue, and I mean a tiny clue, as to what would happen if a nuke hits Israel.

      What does Mr. Fady Khoury recommend? Should Israel use this as “hasbara” and possibly succeed in getting the world to put sufficient pressure on Iran to stop their nuclear development and thereby definitely prevent war with Iran and the possibility of a nuke hitting Israel? Should Israel use this film as “hasbara” with the intent of having another country attack Iran, so that Israel won’t be held responsible, but in doing so will prevent a nuclear attack on Israel? Should Israel ignore “hasbara” and simply attack Iran? Should Israel ignore “hasbara” and attacking Iran and simply sit quietly and allow the Iranians to develop a nuclear bomb?

      ———–

      I think, with all due respect, that Mr. Khoury, for reasons entirely unclear to me, has missed the point of this film. It’s not propaganda. It’s an expression of deep fear based on the fact that the Iranian leadership openly calls for the destruction of Israel and is openly developing nuclear capability that may lead it to having a nuclear bomb within a couple of years. This should terrify every person living in Israel, Arab, Jew or otherwise. In 1973, the Arab countries attacking Israel openly admitted subsequently that they knew they would lose the war. They launched anyway, because they believed it was the right thing to do as far as their interests were concerned. Why aren’t people who are worried about Israel attacking Iran worried that the Iranians will be the ones to do something crazy? They’ve done it before. They attacked two Jewish community buildings in Argentina. They supply Hezbolla with money, arms, training and strategy. They arm and finance Hamas. Between those two entities, a number of proxy wars have already been fought with Israel, and tens of thousands of rockets are aimed at Israel.

      ———

      Why aren’t you worried about that? Why aren’t you worried that this film will come true? You’re worried that some foreign Israeli mission will distribute it to reporters?

      Reply to Comment
    21. Pablo

      This is what palestinian people feels everytime israel attacks them.
      Anyway…Why NATO members, Israel and others can have weapons of mass destruction?

      Reply to Comment
    22. Robert

      There’s a long history in the US of this kind of propaganda, passed off as reporting or informed speculation.

      This is “First Strike” a 1979 PBS film (government funding!) which I saw in Jr. High School (more government funding!)

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jlPEBROvR9w

      Reply to Comment
    23. jack

      and the oscar for best propaganda piece goes to……..

      Reply to Comment
    24. stupid propaganda. i agree with directrob. Am actually happy someone with common sense has posted this before so i dont have to ;)

      Reply to Comment
    25. Mike

      I was 12 years old living 30 miles east of MacDill AFB in October, 1962. We watched from our home back yard as B-52′s ROARED overhead in formation with 4 nukes under their wings–they were so low-flying and refueling in the air. They were escorted by jet fighters also loaded with rockets.

      We heard on Civil Defense TV to ‘go into your homes and wait, the Russians have less than 30 minutes to answer President Kennedy’s ultimatum for Cuba.

      Our entire familly was about 25 minutes from being nuclear toast that day. Few believe me about this–even FEWER can relate to it.

      I have documents and books released from TOP SECRET status to back me up. This short film depicts was my in nightmares for years after 1962. Pray for peace–the alternative is potentially VERY UGLY & Sad.

      Reply to Comment
    26. Paul Carlile

      Scary movie. Scary thought – that one people would try to destroy another. It has happened before. The NAZIs tried to exterminate the Jews. The Israeli Government is trying to destroy the Palestinain people and their right to THEIR homeland. Why do we humans never learn?
      I feel sorry for the Israeli people because they are lead by a dangerous hateful elite. Many of the groups opposing Israel are also lead by ‘religious’ hateful elites.
      We all KNOW deep in our hearts that there is only one solution to the Palestinian problem – give them their homeland in a two state solution. It is the only way.
      I wish so much that theistic religions could be wiped out and we could all just get along. Religious hatred and extremism has ripped my country (Ireland) apart for so long – I am sick of it!
      I hope this movie will make people on ALL sides realise that if nuclear weapons are used there is NO winner.
      The sad thing is that the majority of the Israeli people and the majority of the Arab peoples share the one god of Abraham. In my country the conflict was,(and still is, for a few misguided idiots)for the most part between two sects of the SAME religion.
      Please stop thinking that YOUR religion is the right or only correct one. If someone is not FREE to believe, then they do not really believe but are brainwashed into it. This is a false belief and if god did exist he (it, she, whatever..) would not be best pleased that people kill each other over nuances of doctrine and social structure.
      I do not hate the Israeli people. I do not hate the Palestinian people. I hate their leaders and the religious rubbish over which they kill each other. I wish they would stop listening to the hateful messages of the extremists, and that they could listen to eachother instead.
      Please! – Use the ballot box, not the bomb! Be tolerant. Try to put yourself in the other persons shoes.
      Peace to you all – no matter where or who you are.

      Reply to Comment
    27. Steven

      What is the moral of the story?
      Answer: Don’t give people and nations the motivation and justification to attack you!

      Reply to Comment
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